A 2019 holiday spending survey found that 61 percent of Americans worry about the holidays due to extra spending, while 57 percent dread Christmas, specifically. Further, one in three consumers are losing sleep worrying about how they will pay for all of these winter holiday details. But here are some ways you can financially prepare and plan to soften the Christmas budgetary blow back.
Construct and adhere to a holiday budget
Once you’ve calculated the numbers for how much you spent last year and completed planning your holiday schedule and gift list, you will need to create your holiday budget that breaks down that total into a monthly savings target. Important point: It is more than okay – even necessary – if you find you have to adjust your holiday plans to account for those budgetary totals. If saving the amount you need turns out to be untenable, it’s important to go back to the budget details and rethink the gift list, travel expenses, or budget down on the holiday celebrations.
Reconsider regular spending habits
If your monthly savings goals remain just out of reach, dig in and consider areas you can trim your monthly expenses and place those cost savings into your holiday savings. One big expense for many consumers these days is restaurants and food delivery. Take a good, honest look at the amount of fast food or DoorDash receipts that are eating through your budget. Perhaps you could improve preparing more meals at home while eating healthier and saving money on top of it.
One more common expense? Take a look at your entertainment streaming services. You could be overpaying for subscriptions you either do not even watch or those you are willing to live without.
Find more disposable income
If you’re only earning enough to cover their essentials, perhaps you could consider other opportunities to earn extra income to help finance your holiday savings stash. Try a side hustle in your free time, a productive and valuable job even a few days a week that will help fund your holiday savings account.
Perhaps most important of all, that additional monthly income may provide a sense of financial stability and confidence. More than the holidays, the job can translate into less financial stress when bills are due, even creating a little breathing room to save for the future and start budgeting for retirement.
Plenty of holiday sales to go around
Consumers never have to wait long for a good sale to come around the corner. Shopping “holidays” like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, or National Outlet Shopping Day enable shoppers to save on gifts for friends and family. Make sure to sign up to receive email reminders from your favorite stores so you never forget or miss out on a sale or coupon advantage.
If you find you have some money left over from your gift list, you can and should transfer those savings over to another budget area – say your holiday travel expenses – to stretch those extra dollars where they are needed most.
Plan ahead for next year
To find yourself in a financial crunch during the holidays is stressful enough. Work with someone at your credit union to ensure you’re well set up when the next year comes around. Shop around for the right savings advantages while setting up an automated deposit schedule so you can stay on top of your holiday goals.
These tips originally appeared on cuinsight.com.